La Liga: Real Sociedad lose to Alaves in blow to top-four hopes

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Real Sociedad’s hopes of returning to the Champions League for the first time in seven years took another hit when they lost 2-0 at Alaves on Thursday as both sides finished the behind-closed-doors Basque derby with 10 men. Borja Sainz struck the opening goal in the 56th minute by prodding home a chested pass from Lisandro Magallan but had to wait several minutes before he could celebrate as the goal was initially ruled offside, then given after a lengthy VAR review.

Sociedad’s Joseba Zaldua was sent off for two bookings in the 81st minute and Alaves midfielder Tomas Pina was dismissed in the 87th, while substitute Martin Aguirregabiria sealed the points for the hosts by tapping in the second in added time.

Sociedad missed the chance to climb above Atletico Madrid back into the top four, staying fifth on 47 points, two behind Atleti who hammered Osasuna 5-0 on Wednesday.

Alaves are 13th on 35, 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

Sociedad sat fourth in the standings when the season was postponed in March due to the COVID-10 pandemic but have now failed to win either of their first two games back.

They had more possession than Alaves but carved out few chances, their best opportunity coming when Mikel Oyarzabal failed to connect with a cross from Adnan Januzaj in the first half.

The visitors had only one shot on target in the whole game while Alaves, managed by former Sociedad coach Asier Garitano, created plenty of danger and deservedly took the lead through 19-year-old Sainz, who scored his first goal for the club.

They came close to another when Lucas Perez hit the post and Luis Roja followed up but was thwarted by Sociedad keeper Alex Remiro.

(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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